PULLMAN — Chicago’s City Council on Wednesday approved a $900,000 grant intended to spur the purchase and redevelopment of 35 historic but vacant homes in the Pullman neighborhood.
An earlier plan had called for the row houses on Champlain and Langley avenues to be turned into affordable rental properties. But officials said separate financing couldn’t be acquired, so the initiative pivoted to find a way to rehab and sell them as affordable single-family homes.
The project is a collaboration between the City of Chicago, the Cook County Land Bank, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and a private developer.
The homes, the last unoccupied historic homes in North Pullman, will maintain their exteriors, built as worker housing for George Pullman’s railroad company. Their interiors will be completely rehabbed, with new furnaces, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and appliances, said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th).
“This is a continuation of all the great things that we’ve been able to do,” said Beale. “We’ve been doing this for a while and it will be a wonderful thing as we rehab 10 homes at a time.”
The homes were originally purchased by the Cook County Land Bank and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a nonprofit which works to coordinate resources and bring development projects to under-resourced neighborhoods.
Five of the homes will be renovated and sold by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives while the rest will be purchased, rehabbed and sold by Michael Olszewki of Area Wide Realty. Wednesday’s $900,000 city grant went to Area Wide Realty to fund the purchase of the remaining 30 homes.
City Housing Commissioner Maria Novara said the project is a way to preserve the homes and get them into the hands of first-time homeowners.
“Built more than one hundred years ago but left to languish in the late 1990s, like Pullman itself the housing has ‘good bones’, is sturdy and ready to meet the housing needs of this century’s occupants,” she said in a statement.
Once completed, the homes will be put up for sale as affordable single-family homes within the $120,000 to $140,000 range, according to David Doig, president of Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.
“The neighborhood is part of the historic district and it has suffered disinvestment, but because it’s a landmark the buildings cannot be torn down so we’ve rehabbed them,” said Doig.
With the rehab of these homes, more than 70 historic Pullman homes will have been restored in the past six years.
The homes will be within walking distance of Pullman National Monument site and other new amenities in the neighborhood, such as the One Eleven Food Hall at 756 E. 111th St.
Doig said there are hopes of doing similar rehab projects in neighboring Roseland.
“There’s a lot of vacant buildings in Roseland and we might be able to take some of our experience over to the Roseland community,” said Doig. “We look forward to moving forward.”
Beale touted the project as a signs of the area’s resurgence.
“As someone who has lived through the hard times here when no one thought Pullman and Roseland had a chance to survive, it’s gratifying to see that all are pulling together to continue the renewal that is happening here,” the alderman said.
Here are the properties currently owned by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and by the Cook County Land Bank:
- 10600 S. Langley
- 10706 S. Langley
- 10724 S. Langley
- 10734 S. Langley
- 10604 S. Langley
- 10728 S. Langley
- 10732 S. Langley
- 10736 S. Langley
- 10744 S. Langley
- 10756 S. Langley
- 10762 S. Langley
- 10601 S. Champlain
- 10623 S. Champlain
- 10643 S. Champlain
- 10645 S. Champlain
- 725 E. 105th Place
- 10411 S. Corliss
Cook County Land Bank Properties
- 10609 S. Champlain
- 10619 S. Champlain
- 10606 S. Langley
- 10754 S. Langley
- 732 E. 105th Place
- 10537 S. Corliss
- 10506 S. Maryland
- 10529 S. Corliss
- 735 E. 105th Street
- 10525 S. Corliss
- 10740 S. Langley
- 10710 S. Langley
- 10522 S. Maryland